December 8, 2023

Swiss Skydiver tests Derby mettle in 13-horse Blue Grass Stakes

Swiss Skydiver
Swiss Skydiver winning the Santa Anita Oaks (Benoit Photo)

Swiss Skydiver will look to join the Kentucky Derby mix in Saturday’s $600,000 Blue Grass (G2) at Keeneland. A convincing winner of the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2), Fantasy (G3), and Santa Anita Oaks (G2) in her last three starts, the classy 3-year-old filly will step up to face 12 male rivals in the 1 1/8-mile race.

She possesses the Brisnet Speed numbers to be competitive, registering multiple triple-digit figures of late, and Swiss Skydiver has also displayed improved speed in recent starts. Mike Smith, who picked up the mount last time and guided the Daredevil filly to a four-length, wire-to-wire decision in the June 6 Santa Anita Oaks, will be back aboard for Kenny McPeek.

A major qualifier in the Road to the Kentucky Derby series, the Blue Grass awards points on a 100-40-20-10 scale to the top four finishers.

A pair of recent Churchill Downs allowance winners, Art Collector and Man in the Can, merit consideration as they make their first attempt in a Derby qualifier.

Art Collector led all the way dominating at 1 1/16 miles at June 13, registering a 103 Speed as well as a whopping 114 Brisnet Late Pace rating, and Tommy Drury-trained son of Bernardini should be up close from the start with Brian Hernandez Jr. Man in the Can rallied to win going away at 1 1/8 miles on June 12 and was flattered when runner-up Dean Martini came back to win the Ohio Derby (G3). Tyler Gaffalione rides the Arkansas-bred for Ron Moquett.

Basin, a Grade 1 winner last year, exits a runner-up showing in the first division of the Arkansas Derby (G1), and Ricardo Santana Jr. will be up on the son of Liam’s Map for the ever-dangerous Steve Asmussen stable. Rushie invades from Southern California off a third in the Santa Anita Derby (G1), and Javier Castellano takes the call for Michael McCarthy.

Other runners of include Oaklawn S. winner Mr. Big News; Grade 3 scorer Enforceable; Florida Derby (G1) runner-up Shivaree; Finnick the Fierce, third in the second division of the Arkansas Derby; and Grade 3-placed Attachment Rate.